The Emory University School of Law has announced that it is establishing an endowed chair to honor civil rights legend and Georgia Congressman John Lewis. The John Lewis Chair in Civil Rights and Social Justice will be funded by an anonymous $1.5 million donation. The law school will raise an additional $500,000 to fully fund the professorship.
Robert Shapiro, dean of the law school, said that “this gift will allow us to perform a nationwide search and name a professor who will further scholarship on the issues of civil rights and social justice. Through this chair, we are honored to recognize Congressman’s Lewis’ historical achievements in these vital areas.
John Lewis was a keynote speaker at the 1963 March on Washington. As chair of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, Lewis was beaten on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, on Bloody Sunday in March 1965. He has served his Atlanta district in Congress since 1987.
The anonymous donor stated that “John Lewis exemplifies the values of courage, commitment, dignity, humanity, fairness and equal opportunity that were and are the hallmarks of the movement. Congressman Lewis is an inspiration to us as he continues to speak out against injustice and to fight for equality and civil rights. Atlanta holds an important place in the history of civil rights in the U.S. and John Lewis is a central figure in that history; we hope that a professorship at Emory Law School in his name will in some small way help to continue the good and great work that he has done these last 50 years.”